A Humble Beginning
 
After the Pledge of Allegiance recited by thirteen Rotarians and three guests, President Eddie expressed gratitude for the voters who cast ballots for democracy in Tuesday’s local election, the beautiful sunny day and for the service that we provide for the betterment of our community.
 
A Room Full of Happiness
 
Joe was first up and reported, with a Happy Dollar in hand, that he had waded into Joe’s Pond for the first time this year. (It reminded me of the song, He/She Waded in the Water, the lyrics of which are too risque for this family-oriented publication.) Then more Happy Dollars in praise of mothers and for his declaration: “Everyday is Mother’s Day.”
 
Nicole was next up and offered $5 in happiness currency (IOU’s now totally $27) for the successful State House lawn event on Saturday, It Takes a Village, attended by several hundred people. Twenty-two organizations staffed tables centering on the family services. Three thousand dollars was raised for Good Beginnings. Nicole, the executive director, accepted the fine for mentioning her “business.” (Isn’t that fine anachronistic?)
 
Instead of proposing a fine today,  Bob Pope rose to contribute $10 to the coffers as he exuded happiness in announcing that he had become a grandfather. Pia, born in Los Angeles, will be joined soon by grandmother Nancy who Bob put on a plane this morning. In honor of Mother's Day he offered to pay Nicole’s debts which she graciously accepted.
 
Clashing with the happiness motif,  Karl proposed a fine of one-and-nine on everyone not wearing a badge. Dan dutifully collected the bounty from the offenders. 
 
Back to happier times. Zach gave a Happy Dollar in honor of National Salvation Army week. He also announced that twenty-one of forty places for summer camp have been filled. 
 
President Eddie gave a dollar (“Classification not specified.”) as he announced that he had lost the race for a seat on the Barre City Council by fourteen votes. Bob quipped: “You dodged a bullet.” 
 
Joe returned with a Happy Dollar and then told us of an encounter with two guys that he had wished a Happy Mother’s Day and was rebuffed when one of them responded with: “I’m not your mother!” (Guess they weren’t in the spirit.)
 
Jan gave a Happy Dollar in announcing that she was working on a sculpture of Ken Squire’s 1931 Ford panel truck for the 2025 Barre Rotary Art Splash.
 
Caroline was up with a fist full of dollars as she expressed happiness that she had placed yellow posters around the City for the Gamers for Good club and that she had enrolled in her brother Chris’ Zoom writer’s boot camp. He is a comedy writer from Canada and a major contributor to The Second City, an improvisational comedy theater troupe.
 
Emily offered a Happy Dollar as she announced that Riley had earned her Yellow Belt.
 
Dan gave two Happy Dollars: one for kudos for President Eddie running for public office and another for announcing that People’s Health and Wellness is hiring an office manager and is welcoming applicants. Spread the word.
 
Since Last We Met
 
Spouse birthday: Eric Waterhouse  May 9
 
On this day in history: In 1940 In San Bernardino, California, brothers Maurice (“Mac”) and Richard McDonald opened a drive-in restaurant that gave rise to the fast-food chain McDonald's.
 
On this day in history: In 1914 mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, who, with Sir Edmund Hillary, was the first person to stand atop the summit of Mount Everest, was born in Tshechu, Tibet.
 
Home Share Vermont--Alive and Well and Matching
 
Karl introduced our speaker for today:  Ric Cengeri
 
Ric became HomeShare Vermont’s Communications Specialist in 2022 after spending the previous two years as the host of Vermont Viewpoint on WDEV in Waterbury. Prior to that, Ric was a producer for Vermont Edition at Vermont Public Radio and a morning show host on The Point (WNCS) in Montpelier.
 
HomeShare Vermont has been matching people who have room in their home with those seeking an affordable place to live for the past 42 years. HomeShare guests can contribute to rent and utilities and/or provide help with household tasks.  The program conducts background and reference checks and then helps create compatible matches. 
 
Ric began the presentation by telling us what homesharing does: provides extra income and/or help around the home; reduces social isolation; helps older Vermonters age in place; and uses existing housing stock. He then continued by outlining how the process of homesharing works. First, an application is submitted which is then followed by background and reference checks; an interview is conducted and introductions are made; there is a trial period and a match agreement is signed. Ongoing support is provided by  HomeShare Vermont.
 
Ric introduced Sarah Hudak, a case manager, presented the features of homesharing.  She started with safety by pointing out that three background and three reference checks are conducted followed by an interview. Homesharing is helpful with guests   providing up to 12 hours per week in services, including companionship, cooking and yard/snow help, driving, pet care and light cleaning. Having fun, such as playing games, watching TV and going on adventures together is another feature of homesharing, Case managers help hosts throughout the process and provide ongoing support. Sarah also mentioned that there are no age or income restrictions. The affordable aspects include no fee to apply, earning extra income and money is saved with built-in help. The hosts have reported several benefits of homesharing, including feeling happier, safer in their home, less lonely and sleeping better. Ric and Sarah ended their presentation with “next steps:” share your thoughts, support the organization and/or join the HomeShare Vermont Board.
 
Rotarians found the presentation interesting and informative and showed their appreciation with a warm round of applause.
 

Until next time....that's all Rotarians.